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Sunday, December 7, 2014


     Over a hundred friends and family members gathered on Sunday to celebrate the life of
South Florida adventurer, Mark Reno.  He passed away three weeks ago at his home in Kendall, the one he'd grown up in.

      Just last month he had shown me his latest masterpiece, a three-hundred pound bench he'd
crafted from a fallen pine tree. Laying down on it I discovered it was a lot longer than me.  Mark probably had plans to sleep on it.
    Nearby was his handcrafted urinal guitar. He had shown it to me a few years ago while we chatted by his campfire.  He always had a campfire.  He found houses too confining.

Both the bench and the guitar were pure Mark, bold, sturdy, original creations.

   Sunday afternoon everyone had a chance to stand on family compound's back steps to share Mark stories.  His wife Ann remembered how he had courted her with a wildflower bouquet.  She recalled lovingly, "He told me how each variety reminded him of a special part of me".
   Cousin Woody had flown down from Bangor, Maine, to share how as a youngster, Mark had taken him out into the Everglades on a "mystery ride".  They ended up at an Indian village where he traded an old appliance for a hog.  Woody added,  "We we got home he killed it.  My cousin butchered it just a few feet from where I'm standing. I was aghast...and mesmerized".  
    A young mother remarked, "Six months ago, when he was dying,  Mark insisted on climbing up on my roof to cut down a troublesome tree". 
Mr. Reno was a big guy with a big heart (and a big chainsaw).
   Finally, Mark's kids -Doug and Hunter- touched us with their memories as did his granddaughter, Chloe, with song.

  The sun-filled afternoon was long and loving, a fitting to tribute to the cowboy carpenter who lived like no other.


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